December 2, 2020

Rickus named vice provost for teaching and learning

Jenna Rickus Jenna Rickus Download image

Jay Akridge, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs and diversity, has announced that Jenna Rickus has been named vice provost for teaching and learning, effective Dec. 1. Rickus, who had been associate vice provost for teaching and learning since 2017, stepped into the interim role last spring when Frank Dooley was named chancellor of Purdue University Global.

“Jenna’s positive, creative and supportive leadership over the past seven months in her interim role has been fundamental to the success of our teaching and learning program under these most difficult circumstances,” Akridge said. “Jenna has the vision, experience and passion we need to prepare our teaching and learning programs for a highly uncertain future. I look forward to working with her as we implement Purdue’s Road Map for Transformative Undergraduate Education and deliver one of the nation’s leading student academic experiences.”

An award-winning professor of agricultural and biological engineering and biomedical engineering, Rickus was named a University Faculty Scholar in 2016. Her research developed new technologies to treat, understand and detect brain cancer, diabetes and foodborne illness. She is an alumna of Purdue (BS ABE ’95, BS BCHM ’95) and spent time in industry as an engineer before receiving her Ph.D. in neuroscience and neuroengineering at UCLA.

During her 18 years as a faculty member at Purdue, she has invested significantly in building, growing and strengthening academic programs, classroom teaching and transformational experiences for students.

“I am honored to serve the faculty and students of Purdue,” Rickus said. “Over these past several months, I have seen amazing tenacity, strength and compassion in people who are deeply dedicated to their professions and their peers. I am grateful to be in a role where I can give back to the University that has contributed so much to my own life as a student, alumna, faculty member and scientist.”

The vice provost for teaching and learning reports directly to the provost and is responsible for providing visionary leadership for teaching and learning programs. Rickus will be responsible for undergraduate academic affairs, teaching success, student success, Exploratory Studies, the Center for Instructional Excellence, academic advising, career success, and the summer session. The VPTL also manages personnel, budget and academic planning for the office and is responsible for program evaluation and general academic policy development, and implementation and curriculum governance.

In addition, the vice provost also serves as the Office of the Provost liaison to the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and as Purdue’s representative with the University Innovation Alliance.

Akridge extended his gratitude for the work of the search committee. “The search process is so important, but I fully realize that it requires the valuable time and energy of search committee members,” he said. “With COVID-19 adding so many challenges, I am especially grateful for the extra effort put forth by this search committee, chaired by Dean Nancy Marchand-Martella, for this vice provost position.”

Members of the search committee were:

  • Nancy Marchand-Martella (chair), the Suzi and Dale Gallagher Dean of Education, College of Education.
  • Dan Carpenter, executive director, Student Success Programs.
  • Christine Wilson, associate dean and professor of agricultural economics, College of Agriculture.
  • Kim Plake, assistant dean for learning and assessment and associate professor of pharmacy practice, College of Pharmacy; Teaching Academy chair.
  • Erik Otarola-Castillo, assistant professor of anthropology, College of Liberal Arts; and chair, University Senate Educational Policy Committee.
  • Zeba Raseen Kokan, undergraduate student in College of Health and Human Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, Honors College; Purdue Student Government representative.
  • Lynne Horngren, director, Undergraduate Education and Academic Advising, College of Science.
  • William Oakes, 150th Anniversary Professor of Engineering Education, College of Engineering.
  • Sandra Sydnor, associate professor of hospitality and tourism management, College of Health and Human Sciences.

A search for the position of associate vice provost for teaching and learning will be announced in the coming weeks. Heather Servaty-Seib, professor of educational studies, has filled the role on an interim basis since June.


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